I’ve always dreamt of living in a place where I can just walk downstairs and pop into the attached restaurant, living the life as a regular — the severs all know me by name and the bartender has my favorite drink waiting for me. Scents of daily specials would drift upstairs and draw me from home to join in the local flair. On top of that, I’ve always been drawn to businesses by branding and the look of the logo, the name of a place, and the story that is shared within the space.
Combining these two ideas is the newly built restaurant Haymaker in Charolette, NC. Haymaker is located in The Ascent in Uptown — a 33-story, mixed-use/apartment high rise in a LEED Silver building — near BB&T Ballpark. With families living just upstairs and the goal of bringing in as many local farm selections as possible, Haymaker is like the modern version of my dreams. Led by chef William Dissen, the Haymaker kitchen reinterprets the bounty of the Piedmont area and Appalachia, and explores the local foodways, both historic and present, across the region. Before opening Haymaker, it was time to think about the branding and make sure it mixed the space’s modern design with the traditional farming practices of the restaurant. Amy Pastre, head of branding firm Stitch Design Co., was entrusted with bringing Haymaker’s vision to life. “Chef William Dissen reached out to us,” Amy begins. “We loved working with him! He’s an expert at tapping into local farms and purveyors, creating a sustainable farm-to-table menu featuring the freshest ingredients to craft seasonal menus. We had an introductory call and felt immediately connected to the project. He reached out to us knowing the location and that he wanted to create a restaurant experience that would bring together the Piedmont area and Appalachia to Charlotte. He wanted our help creating a brand that would represent both historic and present food cultures from that region.”
First tasked with coming up with a name for the restaurant, Stitch Design Co. saw an interesting duality to the project. They saw Haymaker like this: it is in a modern building that will be housing traditional food culture of Appalachia. It’s an urban setting with a brick hearth and farm-fresh daily deliveries. “We started the naming exercise with that duality in mind. We explored naming options and directions that were reflective of the overall concept of the restaurant and came across the term ‘Haymaker.’ Haymaker has multiple meanings and [is] connected to farming but also connected to boxing. We liked that there could be multiple interpretations of the name and used that as the jumping-off point when creating visuals for the brand,” says Courtney Rowson of Stitch Design Co. Square Feet Studio led the interior design of Haymaker, also working to blend the modern design of the building with the traditional approach to the environment.
Next, the identity of the restaurant began to come to life through branding. “The menus are presented in a simple manner, the use of multiple papers and layouts balance the approach and create moments of surprise and delight. Thoughtful branded touch points such as drink stirs, coasters and to-go bags appear throughout the dining experience. The client was willing to invest in a high level of branded touch points which really enhance the guest experience and reinforces their attention to detail and dedication to the craft of their food and mission to bring awareness to the Appalachia foodways,” Amy explains.
Scroll below to get the feel and direction that both Stitch Design Co. and Square Feet Studio worked to achieve — a stunning end result. —Erin
Image above: The horseshoe-shaped bar welcomes customers when they enter.